Origin of spontaneous generation
First recorded in 1650–60
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- a theory, widely held in the 19th century and earlier but now discredited, stating that living organisms could arise directly and rapidly from nonliving materialAlso called: abiogenesis
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
- The supposed development of living organisms from nonliving matter, as maggots from rotting meat. The theory of spontaneous generation for larger organisms was easily shown to be false, but the theory was not fully discredited until the mid-19th century with the demonstration of the existence and reproduction of microorganisms, most notably by Louis Pasteur. Also called abiogenesis
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